Former Port Vale youth team reject Matt Jones has moved to Portugal Primeira newcomers CD Tondela.
Meir Park-born Jones has forged a top-flight career in Portugal after spending several years in the Vale youth team.
He is still on the books of top-flight club Belenenses but has moved on loan to CD Tondela who have just been promoted to the top-flight in Portugal.
Thanks to Brian Smith for passing on this information.
Matt Jones’ travels
Jones was on Vale’s books as a youngster but was rejected at 14 years of age, apparently for being too small. It was a decision that he claimed made him “extremely disappointed” when he was interviewed by the Sentinel in 2009. However, Jones did not give up and he was duly snapped up by West Brom’s academy at the age of 17. Two years later, with his chances still limited, he left the Baggies to play US college football.
The move Stateside was a massive success with Jones being named as Rookie of the Year in 2005. He also found time to graduate with a degree in Business Studies. The goalkeeper turned professional in the United States and was soon snapped up by Portuguese side Santa Clara in 2009. After a two year spell with the Azores outfit, he moved on to Madeira’s C.F. União before joining Belenenses in 2012.
[pullquote]Earlier last year Southampton manager Ronald Koeman was rumoured to be interested in Jones…[/pullquote]
The keeper’s good form has sparked plenty of interest. He had a trial with Scottish side Aberdeen in 2011 and earlier last year Southampton manager Ronald Koeman, who judging by this season’s exploits is an excellent judge of players, was rumoured to be interested in Jones.
Matt remains something of an individual in the Portugal leagues. He is the only Englishman playing professionally in the country and what’s more, the Meir Park-born lad remains a Vale fan despite his early rejection by the Valiants.
Matt Jones Factfile
Born: 11 May 1986, Meir Park
Clubs: Western Mass Pioneers (US), Santa Clara, C.F. União, Belenenses, CD Tondela (all Portugal)
Honours: Promotion 2012-13